Monday, June 30, 2014

Wishers and Doers (I'm the former, not the latter)

There are wishers and there are doers.

I am a wisher who (get this) wishes she was a doer.

I am the person who drives by the stables and watches the people who are riding (the doers), silently wishing she was riding, too.

Or who waves goodbye to the friend who is leaving for Paris and wishes she was going, too.

I'm not known for my practicality, but I do have a (small) practical side to me, and I often talk myself out of doing, which leaves me just wishing. Wishing and dreaming for something that I know I'll probably never do, if only because life right now simply won't allow it.

I talk myself out of a dream trip to Paris because I don't like to fly (especially across open water--yikes. It's like a heart attack waiting to happen for me), I don't sleep well when I travel, and I don't like big cities. All very practical reasons that I shouldn't visit Paris. Or Italy. Or Spain. Or any of the other places I wish I could but probably won't.

I'd love to see the Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge in England, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, the crown jewels in the Tower of London, the Teracotta Army in China, and the vast amount of art displayed in Italy. I like the idea of my kids experiencing different cultures and seeing different parts of the world. I'm jealous of people who get out there and just go, because I'm not one of them.

Fear.

It's very real. From the minutia of everyday life to the bigger details, fear enters into almost every conversation I have with myself.

I am not a doer because doers are brave and I am not brave. I am scared.

Fear can paralyze. It can stop a person in her tracks and leave her stunned and weak. It can cause her to look to the future with trepidation, to the past with regret, and to the present with a certain amount of panic. Fear can cause her to constantly worry, hoping she's doing everything right (but knowing without a doubt she's not), wishing everything were different, wrapped in a sarcophagus of bleakness and negativity. Fear can cause her to never, ever change.

Fear leaves her a wisher, and certainly not a doer.

What would life be like without fear? What if we could completely let go of fear? Would it be good for us? Is there safety in fear? Because I like to feel safe. I don't like the unknown, the unfamiliar, the unexpected. I like to live by a plan. I like to know what's coming up. I like to be prepared. I am not extraordinarily spontaneous. And stepping out of that safe box is very, very frightening.

And inhibiting.

Who wants to live their life in a cardboard box, only familiar with it's six walls (because no matter how you turn it, it's always the same), comforting cardboard color, smooth yet rough interior, and flat surfaces?

But that's what I've chosen.

Because I'm scared of what other people will think about me. Of what might happen. Of getting hurt. Of dying. Of being exposed and vulnerable. Of making a mistake. Of looking stupid. Of not knowing. Of having to ask a dumb question. Of not knowing what to do or how to do it.

There is a beautiful, wild world out there. Or at least I imagine there is. From the safety of my cardboard box. My own personal, self-made, keep-the-world-at-bay, stay-safe, don't-get-hurt, predictable, soothing box.

My imagination ignites as I explore google Earth. Look at Christ the Redeemer, the Eiffel Tower, the Nile River. So beautiful. What would it be like to actually experience it for myself?

Life. It's not meant to be boxed up. It's meant to be lived. Abundantly. Richly. Not through how many possessions one can acquire but through the experiences. The sights. The sounds. The colors. The tastes. The smells.

But I don't know how to let go of the fear.

I imagine that beyond my crate of fear, this box over my head and heart, that there are snow-capped mountains waiting to be explored, creek beds waiting to be walked upon, rainbows waiting to be seen. There is music waiting to be heard, fresh pain au chocolat waiting to be tasted, a true and original Renoir waiting to be seen, a castle waiting to be explored, a tower waiting to be climbed, a road waiting to be driven on, a people waiting to be experienced.

The wisher in me wishes that for once, just once, I could pop my head out of the box long enough to taste life. I know it would be sweeter than honey.

I might taste a freedom I didn't know existed.

Freedom from fear.

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